Afghan officials discuss building integrity and good governance
A workshop on building integrity for Afghan security institutions took place on 10 and 11 April 2018 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. High-level representatives from the Administrative Office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan Ministries of Defence and Interior consulted with their counterparts from the Ministries of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Montenegro, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
Organised within the framework of NATO’s Enduring Partnership with Afghanistan, the workshop provided a platform to assist Afghanistan in its continuing efforts to build integrity. Delegates discussed ways to address corruption, strengthen transparency and accountability, and ensure good governance and resource management - all with the aim of enhancing the Community of Practice on Building Integrity (BI). The event also provided an opportunity for NATO to learn how BI can tailor its support to meet the specific needs of Afghanistan’s Security Institutions.
Speaking on behalf of President Ghani, the Director General of the Administrative Office, Mr Mirwais Farahi, highlighted the importance of the workshop in developing the Enduring Partnership.
“The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan would like to note how important this Building Integrity workshop is in developing our Enduring Partnership,” he said. “We welcome NATO’s engagement and support in bringing together delegations from around the world to work with our senior leadership in peer-to-peer consultations.”
Afghanistan’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr Ahmad Tamim Asey, stressed that improving institutional integrity is of paramount concern to the Afghan government.
“Countering corruption and strengthening integrity in institutions is a number one priority for the Government of Afghanistan,” he said. “There is no lack of leadership and political commitment. While we have introduced policies and procedures, we still have to focus on implementation. This workshop is an invaluable tool in assisting us to continue that work by sharing similar experiences from around the world.”
NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations Dr John Manza highlighted the progress made by Afghanistan in strengthening transparency, accountability and oversight, while also underlining the importance of further reforms and the role public officials play as “stewards of public tax money.”
Ms Abigail Austen, Director for Enduring Partnership Co-ordination at the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Kabul, pointed out that “Integrity underpins a populace’s confidence in its institutions to deal with people’s needs and concerns in a fair, effective, transparent and accountable manner. Those values and standards are the basic building blocks of liberal democracy.”
“I am delighted to be a small part of Afghanistan’s on-going efforts to adopt those standards as part of the Enduring Partnership. I am equally enthused by the commitment and professional approach of the Afghan delegation as they move towards joining the Building Integrity program. I have real faith that NATO and Afghanistan have started on a new journey together to embed Integrity as a core value and function across all government service,” she added.
Afghanistan’s participation in this event laid the groundwork for further engagement with NATO’s BI Programme, including the possibility of the country’s association with the NATO BI Policy, and participation in the BI Self-Assessment Questionnaire and Peer Review process.